10 Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2016

To help get your creative juices flowing, we gathered some of the world’s most fascinating architectural films. From an inside look at the lives of Charles and Ray Eames to an inspirational tribute to the architect behind Auburn University’s Rural Studio, there's something for everyone. So grab some popcorn, turn down the lights, and enjoy the show!

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio

This documentary explores the career of Samuel Mockbee, the architect who helped found Auburn University’s Rural Studio, an off-campus program designed to improve impoverished communities. Available to rent on Vimeo.


Faced with the world’s booming population, this group of architects, artists, and builders create tiny living spaces out of seemingly useless structures for a simpler way of life. Available to rent on Vimeo.

El Loco de la Catedral (The Madman and the Cathedral)

Don Justo Gallego Martinez has been building his dream for over 50 years. With no architectural training or construction experience, the former monk began building a cathedral in 1963. Watch his amazing journey to build an architectural feat. (Spanish with English subtitles.) Available for free on Vimeo.

The Edge of the Possible

The Danish architect behind the Sydney Opera House, Jorn Utzon, Hon. FAIA, tells the story of the dramatic construction of this iconic structure, and how politics hindered him from completing his own design. Available to purchase through Film Art Media.

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

First came a revolutionary chair, then an impressive career in design that changed how we look at furniture forever. This film shares the story of how Charles and Ray Eames created a thriving business, influencing everything from the development of modernism to the rise of the computer age. Available to rent or purchase on iTunes.

Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions

During WW1, German architect Erich Mendelsohn drew his ideas on love letters to his future wife, who would help him become one of the most successful architects in Germany, and around the world. Available to rent or purchase on Vimeo.

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

This film provides a look into the thought process of British architect Norman Foster—known for Berlin’s Reichstag, the Millau Viaduct in France, and his HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong. Available to rent or purchase on iTunes.

Great Expectations

A documentary about various architects throughout history and their influence on architecture today—including Le Corbusier's functionalist cities, Buckminster Fuller's lightweight geodesic domes, and Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67 prefab apartments, to name a few. Available to rent on Vimeo.

Gehry’s Vertigo

Part of a series by Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine, this film offers an original way of looking at the famed Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao. You’ll be absorbed as you climb the outside façade—hanging from window washing equipment. (Spanish with English subtitles.) Series available on Amazon Marketplace.


The 25-minute film offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based, design education through the eyes of a group of students finishing their final design projects. Available for free on YouTube.

What are your favorite architecture documentaries? Let us know in comments!